I am thinking of creating some doors out of MDF that will have moldings fixed to their fronts, these will be glued on. I could try to clamp them somehow until the glue sets, but that sounds like a pain.

Another option is to fix them with small nails until the glue sets, and then fill in the holes – it seems that these days a lot of people are using brad nail guns for this. Guns sell for between £17 and a few hundred pounds, are the low end models up to the job, or are a hammer and punch a better option?

  • Are you talking about a nailer that works on compressed air, gas cartridge, cord/cordless nailer/stapler or some other type?
    – bib
    Oct 16, 2012 at 13:04
  • 1
    I suggest you glue it as well. The best bonds are both mechanical and chemical. Oct 16, 2012 at 13:23
  • @bib, Given that the tital says "electric brand nail gun", I think it is clear I not looking for compressed air. Otherwise I don't care what the power source is, provided it comes with it's power source.
    – Walker
    Oct 16, 2012 at 14:26
  • @BrianWhite, sorry I was assuming glue with the nails holding until the glue is dried.
    – Walker
    Oct 16, 2012 at 14:27
  • Pneumatic guns run on electricity. Was not sure about your level of understanding.
    – bib
    Oct 16, 2012 at 14:30

2 Answers 2


Short answer: Yes.

Long answer: A brad nailer (properly adjusted to your material using test strips) will give you clean nailing holes every time. Using a hammer and a punch relies on your skill and aim and consistency. One miss and you've marred your finish work.

  • Thanks, how much should I expect to pay for a gun that can cope with MDF and can be properly adjusted?
    – Walker
    Oct 16, 2012 at 11:57
  • 1
    Any nailer should be able to handle MDF. It's just pulp and glue... Look for a model that's comfortable in your hand and has adjustment settings that are easy to understand. Oct 16, 2012 at 11:59
  • 7
    Whatever you do, don't get an electric stapler that will shoot brads. You'll end up with bent brads that won't penetrate the MDF. Ask me how I know this. Oct 16, 2012 at 13:19
  • 2
    @ Evil Greebo, no one said MDF is tougher. What is true is MDF is denser than most grain wood. Thus it's resistance to nail/brad penetration is greater. This density is due to the large amount of glue used to bind the pulp. In more general terms of toughness, resistance to weather, etc. MDF may be inferior, but it IS more resistant to nail penetration.
    – bcworkz
    Oct 16, 2012 at 18:58
  • 2
    Re: bib & gun-compressor combos. it's also nice in general having a small compressor on hand. You will find other uses for it. The only draw back is you will see many other pneumatic tools that would be nice to have, but your small gun compressor does not have enough capacity to run them.
    – bcworkz
    Oct 16, 2012 at 19:03

If the question is 'air powered vs. electric' I'd second Chris's comment.

The electric brad nailers, IMHO, aren't useful for finish work. I bought one to do trim work on a room and threw it out after only getting one wall done. They don't have the power or accuracy that the pneumatic options will give you.

Plus, EVERYONE should own a compressor and a pneumatic gun. They just make doing DIY projects that much more fun! ;)

There is a 3rd option, and that's a cordless gun. They are basically a pneumatic gun that has a mini electric compressor built in. These are more expensive, but the main advantage (other than being cordless) is that they are nice for small jobs where you don't want to get out the heavy compressor and wait for it to fill up just to shoot 6 nails.

  • Fuel cell power nail or finishing guns are very good also eg one brand paslode and they pack plenty of punch for a cordless gun
    – UNECS
    Oct 16, 2012 at 23:52

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